ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rochester City Council is sending a stark warning to businesses that may not be following coronavirus-related health codes.
The council voted 5-1 to send a notice to entities leasing property from the city that violations of COVID-19 guidelines are grounds for termination of their lease.
"I'd like to direct the city attorney to communicate with our lease holders of city properties the following," said City Council Member Nick Campion. "That violations of state health codes, especially those having to do with our ongoing handling of the coronavirus, constitute a violation of our lease agreements; that we expect lease holders will meet these standards at a minimum, and encourage them, given the uncontrolled spread in our community, to exceed the minimums whenever possible."
Council members are sending the notice after a video surfaced in which some councilors believe a downtown business leasing city property is shown blatantly violating COVID-19 regulations.
"I think we need to be a lot tougher," said City Council Member Michael Wojcik. "I'm just tired of playing games and seeing disease spread, and just, 'ah, we'll get around to this.' I'm looking forward for some meaningful updates about real actions that were taken to end these probelms permanently."
City Council President Randy Staver expressed concern over the warning, urging the council to further investigate the video before taking any action.
"I am really alarmed at wanting to pass something like this and essentially single out a business and perhaps shut them down," Staver said.
In response to Staver's concern, Council Member Campion responded "I am going to take a measured response to this, and say that it is different when the business is a lease holder inside of city property, and when said lease holder posts video to their own business page of the activity taking place. It is not hearsay."
Rochester City Attorney Jason Loos says the city is communication with the business in question.